Mara Zimmerman, a member of the William Smith class of 2003, gave her mother a wonderful gift for Mother's Day–part of her liver. Zimmerman's mother Marilyn had an autoimmune disease known as primary biliary cirrhosis, which left her with only months to live. Because of the method used to allocate livers through a national donor registry, doctors never placed her on the list, knowing she would die before she qualified, according to Dr. Michael Abecassis, chief of transplantation at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, who oversaw the surgery.
So Mara Zimmerman was tested, and her liver was a perfect match. The surgery was performed last month.
“I don't get why people wouldn't do this,” Mara Zimmerman said.
The Zimmermans will participate in a follow-up study conducted by the National Institutes of Health on the procedure, with hopes that they can, in turn, help others in need.
Their story was in the May 9 Chicago Tribune article “Liver donor returns gift of life to her mother.”